Entrepreneurial

Startup Toovio offers “Minority Report”-type ad service for retailers

Big Brother has the capability to watch – and respond to – your every spending move. That’s the premise behind Toovio, a startup that has created technology to help retailers and other consumer-facing companies market personalized offers to their customers in real time.

Think of the scene in the film “Minority Report”, when Tom Cruise’s character is walking through a mall while his eyes are getting scanned and he is being bombarded by a slew of personalized 3D ads.

“We call it offer orchestration,” said Toovio’s CEO Josh Smith, 31, of the capabilities that allow companies to communicate custom offers over a range of channels that include checkout, website, kiosk and customer-service call centers.

“We have visibility into their (customers’) previous behavior,” he said. “There’s learning, based on whatever interaction is happening, and we’re getting smarter – hopefully driving revenue.”

Toovio, which already has a number of small to mid-sized companies in the U.S. and Europe using its technology, will next month test a service that takes advantage of mobile apps that consumers download on their smart phones.

What your area code says about your business

The choice of area code carries more weight in consumer perception than zip code, according to more than 70 percent of small companies polled in a survey conducted by communications and messaging service company j2 Global Communications Inc.

Nearly the same percentage of business owners said having the right phone number gives them a competitive edge.

“Reinforcing that you’re the right person to be working with, building that credibility is the most important thing (owners) have in building a small business,” said Mike Pugh, j2′s vice president of marketing communications, adding that a San Francisco area code was more likely to be seen as optimal for tech startups, while a Detroit number would be preferable for someone in the automotive industry.

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